Lance Hosey has published an essay questioning whether the label “Brutalist” describes Harry Weese’s design for the Washington Metro. The essay usefully complicates the term, but I think it underplays Weese’s commitment to the materials and forms he used.
Ten years ago, when Metro was still working well enough for people to wish for more, the more frequent question I got was about the lack of a Metro station in Georgetown. Now that the challenge is to keep the current system functioning, the question is why Metro has only two sets of tracks on each route, so that shutting one down for repairs causes slow service.
In my research, I found two documents that explained the decision particularly well.
Published: “How Congress Undercut Its Own City’s Subway System,” POLITICO Magazine, 16 March 2016.
The most recent maintenance issues are just the latest consequences of a longer pattern of uncertain, interrupted federal financing that began while Metro was still just a paper proposal. Metro was born and built in financial jeopardy. Now, like so much of the nation’s infrastructure, it needs reinvestment, and that challenge may prove greater than the effort to build it in the first place.
Published: “Ethical Pluralism: Scholarly Societies and the Regulation of Research Ethics,” in The Ethics Rupture: Exploring Alternatives to Formal Research-Ethics Review, edited by Will C. van den Hoonaard and Ann Hamilton. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.
“Will the Federal Government Finally Deregulate Oral History?,” American Historian, November 2015, 20-22.
On September 8, 2015, sixteen federal departments and agencies jointly released a notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the federal regulations (known as the Common Rule) that govern IRBs. Among many other reforms the new rules would, the notice explains, “explicitly exclude oral history, journalism, biography, and historical scholar- ship activities that focus directly on the specific individuals about whom the information . . . is collected.” If enacted as written, the proposal would resolve the longstanding acrimony between IRBs and historians.